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A new metro train simulator for Hamburger Hochbahn

key facts metro train simulator Expleo

As part of the deployment of a new metro vehicle, the public transport operator Hamburger Hochbahn required a training system to teach its drivers to handle faulty and critical situations.

Project background & challenge

Expleo developed a new metro train simulator to help the drivers address real-life problems, enabling them to react quickly and appropriately in case of faults to avoid and minimise the impact on operations and timetables.

The client, who did not have the in-house skills, knowledge or resources required for the project, asked Expleo to build a simulator for its new underground train (DT5). When a new vehicle is deployed, the training simulator has to be developed at the same time. Further to time pressures, an additional challenge was the scale of the project – with 100 units of the new vehicle being delivered, a full training suite (simulator, electronics, instructor desk etc.) had to be created to train many drivers quickly and efficiently. The overall purpose of the project was to train drivers in handling potential problems in operations, such as electric faults or doors not shutting down as breakdowns on the tracks can lead to blockage and negative coverage for the operator.

Solution

With vast experience of the railway sector and having worked many years for the train manufacturer and provided engineering support services for the operator’s network, Expleo was ideally positioned for the project. From 2010, Expleo managed the entire simulator project, taking overall responsibility from specification to maintenance. We developed a training simulator in the shape of a vehicle head, which included various real components like doors, valves, brakes, wheels and a complete control panel with monitors. Expleo also oversaw the completion of the entire training software, from design to commissioning. We managed the planning, installation and commissioning of the electric components (vehicle controls, simulation computer, screen control etc.), were involved in development of the vehicle control software and are now responsible for the maintenance of the simulator.

Outcome

A key advantage of the simulator is that it combines virtual system components with real equipment – a realistic simulation environment where all types of failure scenarios are possible, making it more efficient.

As proof of the client’s satisfaction, the client also tasked Expleo with the maintenance of an ‘older’ existing simulator (DT4), produced by another company in the 1990s. We replaced outdated parts to make it look like the new DT5 simulator and now provide maintenance for both simulators, which can also be used to test new software releases.

It helped a lot that we had this foundation of knowledge of the train and how it operates, as the simulator includes so many real parts of the train for realism. We used the existing training approach from the client to adapt it. For instance, we redesigned the existing flow diagrams using animated graphics to give the driver students a clear view on the possible real-life problems with the train and how to fix them.”

Head of Business Unit Transportation DACH, Expleo